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Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) | by Wandering Sagebrush
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Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Best Viewed Large On Black


This handsome lad just finished getting a drink. In the cropped portrait below, you can more clearly see the water drops on the feathers below his bill


The Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It breeds in the spruce forests of North America, where it is known as Red Crossbill, as well as Europe and Asia; some populations (possibly different species) breed in pine forests in certain areas of all three continents, and in North America, also in Douglas-fir. It nests in conifers, laying 3–5 eggs.


This crossbill is mainly resident, but will regularly irrupt south if its food source fails. This species will form flocks outside the breeding season, often mixed with other crossbills. The crossbills are characterised by the mandibles crossing at their tips, which gives the group its English name. They are specialist feeders on conifer cones, particularly the various spruce species, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cone. Some populations, which may be different species, also feed on Douglas-fir and various pine species.

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Taken on August 27, 2011